OECS Director-General, Dr. Didacus Jules. (IWN Photo)

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Director-General, Didacus Jules, said Saturday the bloc must focus on the most crucial issues that its nine member-countries face.

“Because times are tough, we must focus … on the essential few, rather than the necessary many,” Jules told the opening of the 59th meeting of the OECS Authority here.

“The identification and picking of low-hanging integration fruit is essential to improving the appetite of the people of the region for deeper and wider initiatives.”

Jules also called for “a sense of urgency”, saying this is necessary, as opportunities are time-sensitive and if not seized at the moment, can evaporate.

“With a more convergent range of interests the OECS is well placed to invigorate the regional integration movement and the Commission, in undertaking its own process of organizational change, to better respond to that historical challenge and to better serve the wishes of the authority,” Jules said.

“Stronger, better, and tighter unity, is not just possible, but necessary.”

He said the Revised Treaty Of Basseterre, which established the OECS Economic Union, “represents the reinstatement of a vision of a deeper and more profound unity of these smaller islands”.

“In many ways this Treaty and the forms of integration that it mandates is in itself an accomplishment, because it emanates from a recognition that the ultimate defence of our sovereignty lies in the collective expression of a singular will,” Jules noted.

He said the leadership of the OECS has faced “a cacophony of crises”, including the global financial meltdown and the collapse of regional insurance giant, CLICO.

“We have steered into the heart of catastrophe and we have asserted our resilience. As difficult as these challenges have been, they also represent a remarkable alignment of historical opportunity.

“Our leaders gathered here have reiterated this consensus that challenges of this magnitude cannot be successfully resolved by piecemeal or patchwork solutions.

“We have before us the opportunity to shape solutions that are bigger and bolder than what could or would have been conceptualized before,” Jules said.